A weekend to Pack. The Fall Of Hong Kong 1940-45.

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3.00 star(s)
A Weekend to Pack.

With the first Far East deployment of a Royal Navy Carrier Group in this century it is interesting to take a look back to When Great Britain still had a significant Naval and military presence spread across the globe.

This book touches on an aspect of the Second World War that is not often bought into the limelight against a background of vast battles and huge casualties. George Bearman was not a Sailor, Soldier, or Airman. He was something every bit as vital, he was a civilian electrical engineer based in the Royal Dockyard in Portsmouth. The summer of 1940 saw George halfway through a six month accompanied posting to Hong Kong. He lived with his wife and two sons in a rented flat in Kowloon.

The story of George and his family during the evacuation and eventual fall of the colony is told through the medium of letters between them as the progress of the war saw them torn apart. George remained to carry out his vital work and his family were evacuated first to the Philippines and then onto Australia.

The letters paint a picture of the war from an angle seldom covered, the lengthy and frequent letters reek of George’s rather lonely and increasingly dangerous life as the Japanese close in from China. Sometimes it is the mundane aspects of their daily lives that throw light onto the greater events that frame the story. The loss of their flat, the desertion of one housekeeper and the loyalty of a second, the cost of refuge accommodation and the transfer of wages, all build up the picture.

As defence measures become increasingly desperate George and his colleagues join the volunteer Dockyard Defence Force. After increasingly fierce fighting again overwhelmingly powerful Japanese forces Hong Kong falls and George is captured as prisoner of war rather than as an interned civilian. I will not spoil the ending for those who choose to read this collection of letters themselves. The book is a unique story of one family and the upheaval of war.


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Thanks, just finished Tim Carew's Fall of Hong Kong, so will check this one out.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Thanks, just finished Tim Carew's Fall of Hong Kong, so will check this one out.
It is very much in the social history category in most respects. Though significant events are discussed in the letters themselves. It does make for a rather disjointed read if I’m honest.

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